Hobart Publishing Company (Chicago).

Biographical review of Henry County, Iowa, containing biographical and genealogical sketches of many of the prominent citizens of to-day and also of the past .. online

. (page 8 of 85)
Online LibraryHobart Publishing Company (Chicago)Biographical review of Henry County, Iowa, containing biographical and genealogical sketches of many of the prominent citizens of to-day and also of the past .. → online text (page 8 of 85)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ing interred by the side of his mother in
the same cemetery. He left five chil-
dren ; Elmer lives in Richmond, Cali-
fornia; Olive E., the wife of ^^'illiam
Savage, of Henry count}-, b}- whom she
has one child; David F., of Richmond,
California ; Eugene, who married Ada
Milligan, and resides in Garden City,
Kansas; and Charles, who is also living
in Kansas City, Missouri. Thomas E.
W^eeks, the second son of our subject, was
born in Indiana in 1847, and married
Ellen Frazier, who died leaving two
daughters; Syrena, who is married and
resides in the state of Washington; and
Kate, who is married and lives in Cali-
fornia and has two daughters. For his



second wife Thomas E. Weeks chose
Mrs. Flora Bird Weeks and they resided
in Cherokee, Oklahoma, where Mrs.
W>eks died in October, 1905. They had
six children, of whom five are living. Ha-
zel, Edna May, Nathan, Charles, Abbie
and William McKinley. William Weeks,
the third member of the family, was born
in Indiana in 1848, and now resides upon
his father's old homestead, near Salem.
He married Lydia Beason and had eight
children, Rosa (deceased), Leonard, Car-
rie, Addie, Edna, Elsie, Max and Bertha.
John Weeks, born in Indiana, in 185 1,
was married and died at the age of twen-
ty-one years, his remains being interred
in Salem. Martha F., born in Iowa about
1866, married Emma Knight and lives in
Garden City, Kansas. They have four
children, Frankie and Arden, both de-
ceased; and William and Emma living.
Charles L. Weeks, born in Henry county,
Iowa, in 1859, married Flora Bond and
died in September, 1889, leaving two
daughters : Lucretia F. ; and Eva C, who
married Will Newman, who lives in Ok-
lahoma. She died in October, 1905.
Emma Jane Weeks, born in Iowa in
February, 1861, is the wife of John Foss,
who is engaged in the coal business in
Salem and they have seven children, all
living, namely : Ethel, Charles, Rolla,
Marion, Neva, Glenn and Ruth. Leon-
ard Weeks married Cora Miet, lives in
Salem and has two children, Elizabeth
and William. Eva Weeks, the second
child of Charles and Flora (Bond)
Weeks, has a little daughter, Evaline.
Elizabeth Smith, the widow of Joseph
Weeks, makes her home with her grand-
father, Nathan F. ^^'eeks. She takes the

best care of him, displaying great kind-
ness and attention. She is a great com-
fort to him in his blindness, being a lady
who does everything in her power for his
happiness and welfare. Mr. Weeks was
an active and enterprising man, who in
his business career has been honest and
well respected, his word being as good
as his bond. He has been a subscriber to
the Mount Pleasant Journal longer than
any of its other patrons. During a long
residence in Henry county he has ever
commanded the good will and trust of his
fellow men, and as a prioneer citizen and
reliable business man he well deserves
representation in this volume.


I'ncle Sam is the favorite name applied
by the whole community of New London
to Samuel Keiser. He is the oldest busi-
ness man in the village and is identified
with many of its prosperous business en-
terprises. The entire county is acquainted
with Uncle Sam, and all love and respect
him for his solid traits of character and
for his sound business principles.

Samuel Keiser is now a venerable man
but hale and hearty and possesses a finer,
keener judgment than most young men.
He was born and educated in a time in
this country's history when education was
acquired by an arduous process, when the
average boy had to gain his rudimentary
knowledge of the elements of reading,
writing, and arithmetic by attending



school during" the winter months, when he
could be spared from his share of the farm
labor, and his practical education by ex-
perience in the world. On winter days he
was a pupil in the free school in his dis-
trict, conducted in the old-fashioned
"frame-log' house" made from hewed logs
with its rude interior and hard, log
benches, all presided over by the teacher
and dispenser of punishments.

Among the residents of Perry county,
Pennsylvania, in 1831 were Isaac and
Lydia (Bowers) Keiser and there their
son Samuel was born on the 13th of De-
cember, of that year. During the winter
months they sent him to the district free
schools, while during the summer he
gained practical experience in agriculture
by working on his father's farm. He con-
tinued this method of preparing himself
for the actual duties of life until he was
fourteen years of age, wdien he moved
with his father to Iowa, ^^d^en he was
about seventeen years old the gold excite-
ment of California was at its height and
Samuel Keiser though a mere boy became
imbued with the spirit of adventure and
leaving his home in Dodgeville, Iowa,
journeyed towards the far west. He had
many experiences while upon this jour-
ney, and his path was often beset with
dangers from wild beasts and hostile In-
dians. He finally reached Hangtown
(afterw-ards called Pleasureville) in safe-
ty and staked out several claims. He be-
gan prospecting immediately and panned
out about forty dollars' worth of gold
the first day using a knife and pan. He
stayed here over a year and mined about
three thousand dollars worth of gold,
then he decided to return to the east and

made his w'ay to Lagro, in Indiana, where
he entered into the mercantile business,
but the longing to return to California
grew stronger and stronger until in 185.1
he responded to the call of adventure and
returned to the scene of his former mining
experience. A second time success at-
tended his efforts and he remained in the
gold fields until '63. Then he came east
and this time located near New London,
Henry county, where his father bought a
farm of two hundred acres, later adding
to it one hundred and ten acres. The fa-
ther and son continued to live upon this
farm and cultivate it for several years.
Upon the death of the father, Samuel
Keiser bought a portion of the old home-
stead and continued to live upon it for
four years succeeding the parents' death,
until the estate was settled. He then moved
to New London and became engaged in
the mercantile business, purchasing the
building and stock of the old, established
firm of Smith & Weller. He still owns
this business and the company carries a
full line of hardware and farm im-

Mr. Keiser is a stockholder and an of-
ficer in the New London Banking Com-
pany and was one of the original organ-
izers of the company in 1890. Mr. Kei-
ser is vice-president, j\Ir. William Lee,
president, W. W. Lee, cashier and Ross
Walker, assistant cashier. Mr. Keiser
held the position of president for about
ten years until in 1901. Mr. Wililam Lee,
father of the cashier, was elected to the

Mr. Keiser became a ]\Iason since he
took up his residence in New London, be-
ing initiated into the lodge in that vil-



"lage at a meeting held in the old hall.
He has never held office except by proxy.

Politically he is a strong republican,
has been township clerk and justice of the
peace and has been a member of the vil-
lage council and school board for a num-
ber of years.

He married Sarah A. Morrison, a
daughter of Samuel and Tabitha Morri-
son. She was born in Ohio. They have
no children.

Samuel Keiser is an example of a pros-
perous man, one who has labored in many
fields and has had success and good for-
tune attended his ventures. He is an ex-
ample of a hale and vigorous man of sev-
enty-four years, who still labors and who
still has energy to carry on his many
business enterprises, who is valued by all
who know him for his sound and prac-
tical judgment and for his genial and
whole-souled good fellowship.


Evan Davis, w-ell known in business
circles in Mount Pleasant, where he is
conducting an insurance office, was born
in Glamorganshire, Wales, on the 3d of
August, 1842, a son of Henry and Eliza-
beth (Jenkins) Davis. The father was
born in 1800 in the same county and there
he followed farming during the early
years of his manhood. His wife died
when Evan Davis was a little child. In
October, 1853, Henry Davis crossed the
Atlantic to America in one of the old-

time sailing vessels, which was six weeks
in completing that voyage to New York.
He did not tarr}^ in the east, however,
but continued his journey into the in-
terior of the country and took up his
abode in the northw^estern part of Jef-
ferson township, Henry county. He be-
came a noted stockman and successful
farmer and placed his land under a good
state of cultivation. His methods were
practical and resultant and as the years
passed he accumulated a comfortable
competence and was known as the owner
of a valuable property. He voted with
the Democracv and his fellow townsmen,
recognizing his worth and ability, fre-
quently called to public office. He served
as census e*'iumerator, has assisted in
other local positions in Wales and here
he gave his political support to the Demo-
cratic party. Both he and his wife w^ere
members of the denomination knowai in
the early days as New Lights. His wife
died on the ocean in 1853 and was buried
at sea, while the father passed away in
Henry county in September, 1884, and
was laid to rest in the Wayland cemetery.
In their family were ten children : David,
who died in 1896; Henry, who married
Mary E. Davidson and resides in Way-
land. Iowa ; Mary, the wife of E. E.
Davis, residing near Columbus Junction.
Iowa ; Elizabeth, the wife of John Parks,
w^ho is living in Washington county,
Iowa; Diana, the wife of R. T. Jones, of
Cotter, Iowa; Hannah, the wife of H.
D. Fishburh, whose home is in Nampa,
Idaho ; Evan, of this review ; Winnie, the
wife of William Sutherland, residing in
Washington county, Iowa; Mrs. Sarah
Eisenhart. of Page county. Iowa, who



died about 1875 or 1876; and John, who
married Ada Parks and is living in
Brighton, ^^^ashington county, Iowa. The
eldest child was educated in the high
school at Swansea, Wales, and the others
were all educated in America.

Evan Davis was eleven years of age
when brought by his parents to the United
States and he pursued his education in
the district schools and afterward in
Howe's Academy in Mount Pleasant, in
which institution he spent two years. He
later attended the Great Western Busi-
ness College at Mount Pleasant, from
which he graduated. Returning to his fa-
ther's farm he assisted in the cultivation
and improvement until he had made a home
of his own at the time of his marriage.
On the 29th of November, 1870, he
wedded Miss Elizabeth AMUiams, who was
born in Henry county, Iowa, October 2,
1846, a daughter of Hopkins and Winnie
Williams, both of whom were natives of
Glamorganshire, Wales. They came to
America in 1836, settling in the northern
part of Henry county and one of their
grandchildren is still living upon the old
homestead farm. There were onl}' two
houses in Mount Pleasant at the time of
their arrival, one being the home of Pres-
ley Sanders and the other of Enoch Hills.
The nearest neighbors of the Williams
family were Indians, who were never hos-
tile but were quiet and were good traders.
The family lived in true pioneer style,
remaining in the covered wagon in which
they had traveled westward until the log
cabin was completed. Mr. Williams en-
tered his land from the government — a
fact which indicates that not a furrow
had been turned nor an improvement

made upon the place but he at once un-
dertook the arduous task of transforming
a raw tract into rich fields, and in the
course of time good crops were gathered.
In politics he was a democrat, supporting
that party throughout his entire resi-
dence in America. His wife was a mem-
ber of the Methodist church and died in
that faith in 1879, while Mr. AA'^illiams
passed away during the war. He was a
man of fine physique, large and well pro-
portioned, and both he and his wife were
pleasant, agreeable people who won the
friendship of many with whom they
came in contact. In t,heir family were
three sons and six daughters; John and
Mary, now deceased; Mrs. Ann Evans,
of Wayland, Iowa ; William, of Wayland,
Iowa, who married Miss J. L. Howard,
now deceased; Rachel, who has passed
aw^ay; Sarah, the deceased wife of David
Davis, who has also departed this life;
Jane, the wife of Solomon Cavenee, a
resident of El Campo, Texas; Benjamin,
married Jennie Benham, and is living in
Taylor county, Iowa ; Elizabeth, now
!Mrs. Davis. All of the children were
reared and educated in this state.

Following his marriage Evan Davis
purchased a farm of one hundred and
sevent}- acres in Henry county and de-
voted his attention to the tilling of the
soil and to stock-raising. He placed all
of the building upon his farm, erecting
substantial structures for the shelter of
grain and stock and he added all modern
equipments, including the latest improved
machinery. His farm was ever neat and
thrifty in appearance and indicated his
careful supervision. He remained thereon
until October, 1892, when he put aside



the duties of agricultural life and came to
Mount Pleasant, locating at No. 405
North Main street. He purchased and
remodeled the property there, converting
it into a fine residence. In 1893 and
1894 he was engaged in the poultry busi-
ness and since 1895 has been engaged in
the insurance business, representing re-
liable fire and life insurance companies,
including the Des Moines Fire Insurance
Company, of Des Moines, Iowa, and
the Iowa State Insurance Company,
of Keokuk, also the Merchants' Life
Insurance Association, of Burlington.
On the 24th of June, 1905, he pur-
chased the business conducted under the
name of the Mount Pleasant Milling
Company and is now proprietor, while
W. M. Allison is manager.

Unto jMr. and Mrs. Davis have been
born three children : Ada Blanche, born
in Henry county on the 12th of Decem-
ber, 1876, was educated in the graded
schools of \\'ayland, and continued her
studies in the Wesleyan College in Mount
Pleasant. She is now the wife of Adam
L. Foggy, who resides seven miles east
of Mount Pleasant and they have two
children, Lenox Davis and Ruth Eliza-
beth Foggy. Anna R. was born Decem-
ber 7, 1880, attended the high school in
Mount Pleasant and afterward the Con-
servatory of Music in this city. She is
now the wife of William M. Allison, who
is manager of her father's mill and they
reside on North Lincoln street. Grace
E. Davis, born in Henry county, Decem-
ber 18, 1882, was graduated from the
Mount Pleasant high school and spent
two years as a student in the Iowa Wes-
leyan University. She was married on

October 11, 1905, to George T. Hill, of
Burlington, who now resides in Mount
Pleasant and is cashier of the Chicago,
Burlington & Ouincy Railroad Company,
at this place. Mrs. Foggy was married
in 1894 and Mrs. Allison on the 27th of
February, 1904. Mr. and ]\Irs. Davis
are devoted members of the Methodist
Episcopal church and have a wide ac-
quaintance in Mount Pleasant, while the
hospitality of their home is greatly en-
jo ved bv their many friends. For more
than a half century Mr. Davis has re-
sided in Henry county and is therefore
largely familiar with its history from its
pioneer epoch down to the present time.


Joseph Lewis Shields has been a repre-
sentative of industrial life in New Lon-
don and is now connected with mercan-
tile interests, being engaged in the cloth-
ing business, with a patronage which is
indicative of his fair and honorable deal-
ing- and also of the excellent stock which
he carries. He was born in Loudoun
county, Virginia, October 24, 1835, and
is a son of William R. and Susan
(Blaker) Shields. His edujcation was ac-
quired in the early subscription schools
conducted by the Quakers, or Friends. He
continued a resident of the Old Dominion
until fourteen years of age, when he ac-
companied his father's family on their re-
moval to Muskingum county, Ohio,
where he also attended school. In 1852



the family came to New London, Iowa,
and Joseph L. Shields here purchased an
interest in the gristmill owned by Broad
& Hager, buying the interest formerly
held by \Mlliam Allen. For eighteen
years he was identified with milling in-
terests and the business was capably con-
ducted and proved a profitable invest-
ment. At length he sold out to a jNIr.
Walker and turned his attention to his
present line of business, conducting a
men's clothing goods establishment here.
He not only carries ready made clothing,
but also boots and shoes, hats and in fact
everything found in a first class estab-
lishment of this character. While con-
nected with the mill he was identified also
with the grain-shipping interests of the
county, buying and selling on an exten-
sive scale. From i860 until 1866 he op-
erated a threshing machine throughout
Henry county, having the first separator
that was brought into the county.

On the 8th of December, 1869. oc-
curred the marriage of ~\\r. Shields and
Miss Anna O. Hiles, a daughter of Jo-
seph B. and Mary A. Hiles. Four chil-
dren have been born of this marriage:
Victor H., who is cashier of the First Na-
tional Bank, of New London ; and Guy.
who is an advertising solicitor for the
Cliicago Daily Nczvs. Edna died at the
age of twenty-two years, and Ethel died
at the age of six months. Mrs. Shields
was a member of the Protestant Metho-
dist church of New London. Her death
occurred February 3, 1905, at the home
in New London, at the age of sixty-six

Mr. Shields's study of the political
questions and interests of the day has led

him to give stalwart support to the Re-
publican party. He has served as town-
ship trustee for nine years and for many
years on the town council. He has been
treasiu"er of the village and has ever been
found faithful in the discharge of his du-
ties, which he has performed with credit
to himself and satisfaction to his con-
stituents. He belongs to the Masonic fra-
ternity, with Avhich he has been identified
since 1867, when he joined New London
Lodge, No. 28, Ancient Free and Ac-
cepted Masons, in which he has held va-
rious offices. He became an Odd Fellow
in 1867 and is now afiiliated with Charity
Lodge, No. 56. He has also passed all of
the chairs in this order and has several
times been a representative to the grand
lodge. His religious faith is indicated by
his membership in the Methodist Prot-
estant church, in which he is serving as
a trustee. Moreover, it is exemplified in
his daily life and in his conduct of his
business affairs, for he is at all times a
man of honorable principles, unfaltering
in his allegiance to those qualities of up-
right manhood which everywhere win re-
spect and confidence.


The name which forms the title of this
article is well worthy of a place in the
present volume as the representative of
a family widely known in connection with
the more important business interests of
Henrv countv — a familv which in its his-


tory exemplifies in the most admirable dying in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, on Sep-

manner the triumph of those qualities of tember 27, 1902, and being buried in For-

enterprise, sound judgment and unwaver- est Home cemeteiy.

ing integrity which have caused men of The mother, Eliza Churchill Ketcham,
the English race to win supremacy in all was also a native of New York, being born
departments of the world's activities. The in that state in 18 10. Her father was one
name of Ketcham has not only won honor of the martyrs of his country in the war
and recognition in later years and in these of 1812, being killed in Canada during the
western states, because of the business acu- progress of the war. Eliza Churchill was
men of many who have borne the name, only nineteen years of age when she was
but also has won a lasting place on the married to Jesse Ketcham, he himself be-
pages of the history of this nation because ing only twenty years old. They spent a
of the service rendered to the country by long, happy life together, encouraging each,
members of the family during the differ- other through the hard years of pioneer
ent wars in which this nation has been en- life in the great middle west, enduring to-
gaged. In each of the three greatest wars gether the trials and hardships of the
that the United States has undergone — troublous earlier times, and finally travel-
the Revolutionary war, the war of 1812 ing hand in hand the peaceful days of old
and the Civil war — there have been men age after the struggle was over and their
from this loyal family who answered to efforts had l)rought their well earned re-
the nation's call for troops. wards. They were companions for nearly
Miss Hattie Ketcham is a native of seventy-one years at the time of the death
Wappinger's Falls, New York, and was of the mother on September 7, 1899. They
the daughter of Jesse and Eliza (Church- were married in New York state, and were
ill) Ketcham. Her father was also a living in New York city at the time of
native of that state, being born near New the great fire.

York city on April 9, 1809, the son of In September, 1855, Mr. Ketcham and

Timothy Ketcham, a farmer and one of his two older sons came west, locating in

the Revolutionar}'- heroes. It is told of Henry county, Iowa, on a farm of one

Timothy Ketcham that his zeal for his hundred and sixty acres about five miles

countiy was so great that when the call west of Mount Pleasant. The following

for troops came to him he left his team spring the rest of the family came, and

standing in the field and did not even go they made that their home for the next

to the house, but started immediately to. ten years. In 1865, they moved into

war. He served under General Putnam, Mount Pleasant, moving into their present

and was engaged in several of the more home on Thanksgiving day of that year,

important battles, in one of them receiving Having been in the town during the im-

a wound in the head. He lived to be over portant years of its growth, and especially

ninety-nine years of age. His son, Jesse as members of the family have done so

Ketcham, father of the subject of -this re- much toward advancing the material and

view, lived to be ninety-three years old, commercial interests of the community,



the family is one of the best known in this
part of Iowa.

To Mr. and Mrs. Ketcham were born
eleven children, eight sons and three
daughters, of whom the three daughters
and four of the sons are still living, filling
places of honor and usefulness in their
several home communities. The oldest
child, Juliana, who is still living at an age
of over seventy years, was twice married.
Her first husband was Joshua Loving, and
after his death she was again married, this
time to John Richard Armstrong, of an
old Salem family. Oscar C. married Miss
Maria Briar, and died in Kansas in 1901.
William B. married. Miss Harriet Mc-
Divitt, and now lives in :\Iendota, iMis-
souri, where he is engaged in the coal
mining business. Edward D., who died
May 19, 1881, was never married. He
was a soldier in the Civil war, serving for
three years in the Fourth Cavalry, and aft-
erward engaged in business in Ottumwa,
Iowa. He was an invalid for a long time.
Leander F. married Miss Ora Hutchinson,
of New Hampshire, and he and his wife
are both now deceased. He was the great
lumberman of the family. Besides assist-
ing the other brothers in their lumber op-
erations in Iowa, he also cleared off a large
number of counties of timber land in Mis-
souri. Eliza is the widow of John Peter-
son, and makes her home in Kansas,
Frank married Mary Jane McDivitt, and
lives in Burlington, where he has one of
the finest homes in the city. He has been
exceptionally successful in his business
operations, and owns a controlling interest
in the mining property in Mendota, Mis-
souri, which was mentioned above in con-
nection w'ith the work of his brother, W'il-

iam B. Winfield is unmarried and resides
at home with his sister, our subject. He
is engaged in the lumber business. He
has decided business ability, and has won
great success in his business, so that he
is ranked among the well-to-do men of
Mount Pleasant. Albert died March 20,
1868. Our subject. Miss Hattie, was the
tenth child of the family in order of birth.

Online LibraryHobart Publishing Company (Chicago)Biographical review of Henry County, Iowa, containing biographical and genealogical sketches of many of the prominent citizens of to-day and also of the past .. → online text (page 8 of 85)